Marisha Pessl

Marisha Pessl writes:

"A writer's favorite books serve many purposes -- they are lighthouses, comforts, and cornerstones. These five selections -- ranging from social satire to fantasy to historical thriller -- I keep close to my desk, rereading them whenever I want to remember the thrill of losing myself inside a timeless story."


Answered Prayers
By Truman Capote

"A searing takedown of privileged New York society, but also a mystery unto itself. Capote's final unfinished novel in essence destroyed his life when it was published in excerpt form in Esquire magazine. Though Capote claimed at the time he was almost finished with the novel (and that it would be his life's crowning achievement), after his death, chapters he insisted existed -- and could describe in great detail -- have never been found. His editor believed they only existed in his head. Others believe the pages are locked away in a vault or security box, location unknown. Nobody knows for certain."


By Vladimir Nabokov

"A book so textually rich and multilayered, no matter how many times you come back to it, you find something you've never seen before."





The Big Sleep
By Raymond Chandler

"Chandler gave life to the timeless hard-boiled detective Philip Marlowe in this seminal crime novel about blackmail, kidnapping, and 1930s L.A, creating an archetype out of the world-weary but lovable loner seeking the truth."



The Alienist
By Caleb Carr

"This historical thriller about a serial killer and the first forensic criminologist is a blast, unfolding at breakneck speed against a backdrop of raunchy, seedy 1896 New York."




The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
By C. S. Lewis

"A childhood classic -- and the book that made me want to become a writer."


April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.